A week had passed since the birth and still, Denethor did not see me fit to attend court. I suppose he wanted to make sure that the mother of his son and heir was receiving the best care possible. I did not mind being secluded away. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. I was able to spend quality time bonding with my son.
"Come and meet your cousin," I said to Voronda, who was standing uneasily at the end of the bed.
"It's a boy," she said, walking over to my side. "Oh, he is so small."
I chuckled. "He will grow up to be big and strong."
Voronda stroked Boromir's dark hair. "Do you think he will like me?"
"Of course he will like you," I replied.
"What about Apricot?" Voronda asked. "Will he like Apricot?"
I bit my bottom lip to restrain myself from laughing. "I am sure if you introduce Boromir to Apricot, they will get along."
Boromir opened his eyes and stared at Voronda. "He's looking at me!" Voronda said, softly clapping her hands.
I grinned. "Would you like to hold him?"
Voronda frowned and shook her head. "No, thank you."
I sighed. "Did your Uncle take you to court on the day Boromir was presented to the people?"
Voronda nodded. "Yes. It was very crowded, but Uncle Denethor carried me so I wouldn't get trampled."
I raised my eyebrows. "Did he now?"
"Uncle Denethor was very happy," Voronda concluded.
It was true. Denethor had become far more pleasing. It had almost gone back to the early months of our marriage. I would be lying if I said I did not miss that time, for there is nothing worse than being in a loveless marriage. Not that Denethor ever stopped loving me. No. It was I, who lost feelings and decided to seek comfort elsewhere. I began to think about Agoron. I knew now that my son had been born, Agoron would make plans to visit Minas Tirith. But now, after seeing Denethor change back to the man he originally was, I was not so certain I was ready to see Agoron. Yes, I still had feelings of deep care for him, but he was not my husband, and I dared not to cavort with him. I was born, and raised as a Princess of Dol Amroth. Therefore, I knew better than to perform such an act. Still... just one visit could not hurt.
That evening, I had dinner in the nursery with Voronda. She was very pleased to be back in her old chamber, especially when I told her that all the dolls and toy houses were to be moved to her chamber now that a boy was residing in the nursery.
"When will he be able to talk?" Voronda asked as she sipped her juice.
"Not until he is much older," I replied gently. "He will not even be able to sit and crawl for a few months yet."
Voronda looked shocked. "It will take that long? Is he lazy?"
I giggled. "No, my dear. All infants begin their lives the same. Besides, I do not think your uncle will approve of Boromir being lazy."
"Why?" Voronda asked.
"Because, Boromir will be the Steward of Gondor one day," I replied.
"I thought Uncle Denethor was going to be the Steward after Grandfather Ecthelion," Voronda said, confused.
"Yes," I started, "and when your uncle can no longer rule, Boromir will take his place."
Voronda turned her gaze over to the cradle. "He better start talking."
I laughed. "All in good time."
"Auntie Finduilas," Voronda sang.
"Yes?" I answered.
"Why is Uncle Denethor not here?" she asked. "I thought he was Boromir's father."
"He is," I said a little too quickly. Voronda looked at me puzzled, as if I had guilt written all over my face. "I mean, yes, your uncle is Boromir's father. Can you not see the resemblance?"
Voronda stood up and walked over to the cradle. "No," she said as she peered over the cradle's edge. "Boromir has your dark hair, not Uncle Denethor's brown hair."
I nodded. "Yes, but he has Denethor's eyes."
"Yes," Voronda said. "I suppose I can see a little of Uncle Denethor, but not too much."
I smiled. "Just wait until he gets bigger. When my brother was born, he looked nothing like my father. But when he became several months older, the resemblance could not be mistaken."
"Really," Voronda said in a surprised tone. "How interesting. Does that mean that Boromir is going to change appearance?"
I laughed. "Not entirely. But I am positive that Boromir will grow to look more like his father."
"That is a shame," Voronda muttered. "I think you are better looking."
I laughed again. Valar! That child could say some interesting things! "I shall take that as a compliment."
"You should," Voronda said as she sat back down. "I think you are the prettiest lady I have ever seen!"
I smiled warmly. "Thank you. And I think you are very pretty also."
Voronda shook her head. "I'm not that pretty. Father told me so."
What? How could that man say such harsh words to his own daughter! "Do not listen to your father," I said a little sternly. "He does not know what he is talking about."
"But he is a Lord," Voronda said. "He is supposed to be wise."
"Voronda, it does not matter about what title someone has. A title does not change someone's behaviour. Yes, your father is wise and very noble, but he does not understand every concept in this world. Your uncle knows far more about Gondorian politics than your father does."
"But my father knows more about fighting in a battle than Uncle Denethor does," Voronda said. "Father one told me that Uncle Denethor was a coward for not riding into battle and leading the armies of Gondor."
Sweet Eru! Was what Voronda telling me true? Were there rumours about my husband going around? "When did your father tell you that?" I asked as calmly as I could.
Voronda sat in thought for a moment. "I think it was before mama died. Yes, it was, because the Lord of Lossarnach and another Lord were visiting at the time, and they were in the same room as Father and I were."
"What were they talking about?" I asked.
"Well," Voronda started, "honestly, I wasn't in the room the entire time. Mama bought me there to say goodnight. But when I entered, a man was saying how the Steward's son is not fit to be a ruler of Gondor, because he has not experienced the hardship of his people firsthand. Then my father acknowledged me and told me that my uncle was a coward and I should be ashamed to call him family." Voronda slapped her hands on the table. "However... I think Father had been drinking that night."
I nodded. "Still, your father should never have spoken such words."
"The other Lords in the room were nodding in agreement," Voronda added. "I was only saying goodnight to my father."
"It is not your fault," I said gently. "Just promise me that you will not retell this story to your uncle or grandfather, for if they find out, your father and all the other lords in that room could be arrested."
"Why?" Voronda asked in awe.
I sighed. "It is just the way the law goes, Voronda. I do not make the rules."
"The Steward does," Voronda said stoutly.
I grimaced. "I am sorry, dear. I did not mean to upset you."
Voronda shrugged. "I am not mad. I know you are only telling the truth."
I nodded. I could hear Boromir squirming around in the cradle, making soft noises as if trying to grab someone's attention.
"What is wrong with him?" Voronda asked.
I stood up and made my way over to the cradle. "He has woken up. He just wants some attention."
"He always wants attention," Voronda said, folding her arms.
"He deserves such attention," a man's voice said.
Voronda and I turned to the doorway and saw Denethor standing there.
"How long have you been standing there?" I asked, holding Boromir.
"I only just arrived," Denethor replied, walking into the nursery. "Voronda, I believe it is time you went to bed."
Voronda looked at me sadly, but nodded. "Goodnight, Uncle Denethor, and Auntie Finduilas."
"Goodnight, darling," I replied.
Once Voronda had closed the door, Denethor turned to me. "Are you hiding something?"
I frowned. "No. What makes you ask me such a thing?"
"I find it rather odd that you wanted to know how long I had been standing at the door," Denethor replied.
"Husband, do you really think I can talk privately with a child?" I said. "You startled me, that is all."
Denethor's face softened as he walked over to me. "How is he?"
"Well," I replied. "He still will not sleep long during the day or night. I fear the nurses are becoming stressed over the matter."
"He is very active then?" Denethor inquired.
"Yes, you could say that," I answered. "Boromir is very... curious about everything that surrounds him. In fact, he does not like many people holding him."
"He is cautious," Denethor said, stroking our son's dark hair. "Just as he should be." Denethor took Boromir out of my arms and placed him back into the cradle. "You need not spend so much time with Boromir. The nurses and servants can take good care of him without your presence."
"But I like spending time with my son," I protested. "Whenever I am not with him, I miss him."
Denethor sighed. "I know, and I am glad you have bonded with our son. But sooner rather than later, Boromir will be sent to Osgiliath to start his combat training."
"What!" I said, stepping away from Denethor. "How soon?"
"When he turns three," Denethor replied. "Captain Othon has moved his training camp from Minas Tirith to Osgiliath for more room."
I could not believe what I was hearing. "A three year old in a combat training camp! Are you mad?"
Denethor frowned at me. "You know, I have made plans for Boromir to become the leader of our armies. The sooner he starts his training, the better. Besides, he will not be the only three year old there. It is the minimal age to start training."
"You never did it!" I spat out.
"Excuse me?" Denethor said, stepping closer to me.
"Y-you never went into battle, or took part in combat training. Why does our son need to?" I said nervously. "Why can he not be like you? To be the image of his father."
"I did take part in combat training," Denethor said calmly, to my surprise. "My father had made the exact plans I have made for Boromir, for me. However, when my mother died, my father did not... look over my progress as well as he should have done. Over time, I became more focused in politics." Denethor sighed. "Changing paths was something I should never have done. I regret it, and so does my father." Denethor looked over to the cradle and smiled. "I will not make that same mistake with my son. I will make sure he grows into such a fine warrior and leader, that he will be remembered for an Age."
I gulped. I felt sorry for my husband's childhood, but the fact that he was trying to make up for it with our son's life was not appealing to me. "Denethor, I cannot... I will not support this decision of yours. I believe we should allow Boromir to choose his own path in life for himself."
Denethor shook his head. "As a father, I agree with your beliefs, but as a man who is about to inherit Stewardship, I respectfully disagree. Finduilas, I love you." He gently held my hands, "and I know that you share that love, but in this marriage, you need to trust me."
I lowered my eyes. "I do trust you. I just do not like the idea of being separated from my son when he will still only be a little boy."
"You will still be able to see him," Denethor said. "There are monthly breaks in the training programs."
"So I will only be able to see him once a month?" I asked. "That still does not sound appealing to me."
"Then, the only way I can see this situation easing your mind, is that you stop spending all your time with Boromir," Denethor said gently. "It may sound cruel, but it may help you in the near future. Now come, you need rest."
Before I could even protest, Denethor was escorting me out of the nursery to our chamber.
I did not like this at all. I did not care what Denethor said, I would not be separated from my child. If I had to, I would move to Osgiliath while Boromir completed his combat training. I knew such a move would cause a great argument between Denethor and me.
Why did my life have to be so difficult?